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China's Social Transformation And Two Types Of Modernity

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Chapter Summary

Modernity is a complex and multifaceted body of contradictions. Immanuel Wallerstein believes modernity has two different, contradictory aspects: modernity of technology and modernity of human liberation. The two types of modernity are disparate and even contradictory. After the French Revolution, the two modernities that were born together out of the Enlightenment age ceased to coexist harmoniously as the bourgeoisie who pursue the modernity of technology began to fear the lower classes' pleas for liberation. The tension between these two modernities manifested as ideological conflict between liberalism and socialism. Mao's Cultural Revolution was essentially a resistance to the modernity of technology through the radically egalitarian modernity of liberation. Since 1992, the rapid societal transformation ushered in by China's marketization has led to a remarkable economic boom and advancement of the civilization, and yet it also produced severe societal contradictions.

Keywords: China; human liberation; Mao Zedong; modernization theory; socialism



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